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Four Things Writers Can Stop Stressing About Right Now

Writers are an insecure bunch. We worry about pretty much everything.

Am I wrong? Show me a writer who is totally confident all the time. Can you find one who doesn’t worry that her next book will flop or who cheers when he gets a one-star review? I can’t.

wad of paper

Photo credit: photosteve101 via cc

Much as we’d like to think we’re unique, we’re not. Most of us stress out and obsess about the same things.

So writers (and you who love us and put up with our special brand of crazy, and you who don’t write, but still have that niggling feeling that something else is out there), here are a few things I absolve you of responsibility for.

Am I good enough?

Of course not. No one is ever “good enough.”

Now, before you run away and hide in a corner under a blanket and cry (or is that just me?), hear me out.

If we were actually good enough, then there’d be nowhere to go. We’d stop learning and growing.

We’d never feel that awesome achievement of trying something we aren’t really sure we can pull off and then knocking it out of the park.

So no, you’re not good enough. But you are good enough to get started.

What if I fail?

What if you don’t? Unless you’re trying to write a comprehensive guide about how to perform brain surgery, your failure probably isn’t going to result in someone’s death.

This is my favorite thing about writing. Words have power, but they’re also just words. What other career can you choose where you can just think up a new name and start over if you fail so epically that you can’t continue on?

Does that mean we’ll fail sometimes? Of course it does. Nothing worth doing is easy. See Point Number One.

I don’t know enough.

Meh. Neither do I.

For a lot of writers, technology is a big hangup. I used to be a geek, so I probably know a little more than the average bear. But not that much.

I don’t understand what makes it all work or how to fix it. When something goes wrong, I find smart people to help me. I turn to the community of writers I hang out with to help me.

This goes for anything, really.

Whatever you want to do, you’re not in it alone. Someone else knows what you need and is willing to share it. Even if that someone is just Google.

I don’t have time.

(If you’re not a writer, replace “write” in this section with “exercise” or “study to be a brain surgeon” or “brew beer.” Except please don’t brew beer while you’re on the toilet.)

It sounds crazy, but people with full-time jobs and a house full of kids in every activity possible still find time to write three novels a year.

Do you have time to play Candy Crush or Clash of Clans or whatever game is the thing now? Then quit bitching and write.

Do you wait forever in lines? Do you read trashy romance novels at lunch? I won’t judge your reading habits…but maybe instead, you could use some of that time to read an article or do a 15-minute writing exercise.

Do you sleep? Get up 30 minutes earlier and write 500 words. Every. Day. You’ll have a novel drafted in three months.

Do you have time to go to the bathroom? Write on your phone while you sit on the toilet. (I’m not kidding.)

Whatever it is you want to get better at, you do not need hours of uninterrupted time sitting in a cabin by the lake to do it. You just need to do a little bit every day.

If you care about it, you’ll find the time. (Tweet that)

So let’s do this!

OK, I realize all this stuff is easier said than done. In fact, I still struggle with a lot of these, too.

But at some point or other in the last three years, I’ve managed to pull these things off for long enough that I know they work.

You can make changes. Whether it’s to write or cut back some of life’s chaos or eat better…you can do it.

What do you struggle with or stress about? Share in the comments…

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About Christine

I’m a writer, a recovering project manager, and a corporate refugee with a passion to share the lessons I've learned. I've worked with bestselling authors to launch nearly a million dollars' worth of books and online courses. I've seen what works (and what doesn't), and I know what it takes for a growing writer to get your work out and grow as you go.

37 Replies

  1. We writers are often insecure. I have a love/hate relationship with my WIP and right now, I hate it. Therefore, it’s a struggle to keep writing, but I will. I’m determined! (Good to see you posting again, Christine!)

    1. Christine

      I hear ya, Joan. I have two WIPs that I’m struggling with, too. Your encouragement is keeping me at them!

  2. This was a good post. Thanks for the slide advice.

    I seem to be able to get words down every day but have developed huge fears about sharing my work. It’s maddening and make me want to stop. Yet, I can’t.

    One of your points hit home to me. If my posts stink, it’s not the end of the world. This I forget…because I am fragile!

    1. Excuse the typo. I meant solid advice. That’s what I get for sliding across my tablet keyboard. :-)

    2. Christine

      We’re all fragile, Melinda. It’s easy to get spun out about criticism, but the reality is, not everyone is going to like us (in writing or in anything) and not everything we do is going to be awesome. I’m *trying* to learn to be ok with that!

  3. My “office” is in the middle of the livingroom…where everyone and anyone like to pop in to interrupt the perfect sentence. I can’t close my door. But my newsletter rocked today anyway!

    1. Christine

      YAY for rocking! :)

      When you work at home, it IS hard to create boundaries and to convince the others in the house (especially small ones) that your work time deserves the same respect and focus as if you were at the office. Congrats for making it work despite the challenges!!

  4. I thought I was the only one who wrote on her cell phone in the bathroom! I use the time to respond to comments on my blog.

    Great points, and great to hear them in your voice.

    1. Christine

      It’s fun when voice recognition tries to figure out what the flush was. 😉

  5. Noreen Saemenes

    You are fantastic. Thank you for sharing. You make me feel normal for having doubts about myself and my writing.

    1. Christine

      Noreen, I bet you’re a lot more normal than you think! :)

  6. Christine, on a day when I’m feeling vulnerable, this post resonated with me. You’re right, it isn’t the end of the world. And I’m learning that I enjoy writing far more than I expected to. At the end of the day…I’m doing it for me. Great post!

    1. Christine

      So glad to encourage you, Crystal!

  7. “I don’t have time.” — for me, I know it’s a mindset. I have plenty of time, and I KNOW i need to shut off all distractions…. My problem is “shutting off” so I can create the time.

    Very hard. But working on it….

    1. Christine

      I know, right? If I could just take my own medicine on that one!

  8. Now I’m torn between leaving you this comment and rushing back to writing. Great post, Christine. Just the kick in the butt I needed today.

    1. Christine

      Keep writing, Staci. And don’t mind that shoe print on your pants…. 😉

  9. Oh I needed this today Christine! I’m suffering from sinus/hay fever and feel I have the energy of a gnat with absolutely no inclination to write. As soon as I finish this sentence I’m off to Penzu :-) Thank you.

    1. Christine

      Oh, I know THAT feeling. Some days, it’s actually OK to skip and just curl up in bed for a netflix binge. Hope you feel better soon!

  10. 3 things: I love this, “Unless you’re trying to write a comprehensive guide about how to perform brain surgery, your failure probably isn’t going to result in someone’s death.” (lol!!)
    Secondly– I WANT to be sitting in a cabin on a lake writing all day!
    And finally– great article! :) I cycle thru these stinking thoughts all the time, and I just want to put them behind me and get started writing…so hard to do…so hard to continue…but thanks for the encouragement.

    1. Christine

      I want to be in that cabin, too!

  11. What do I struggle with? Ha, perfectionism! And having to write when I’m emotionally wiped out after a day in the classroom.

    But I am determined to write daily, if only to stay limber with words. The ending chapters for my novel are being pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. I don’t have the luxury of waiting summer break.

    Thanks so much, Christine, for sharing these struggles. They are common to all of us, and when we realize that, we don’t feel like an overburdened and lonely soldier, fighting the battle alone.

    1. Christine

      I hear ya, Laura. I pretty much can’t write in the evenings…when I try, it’s a bit of a disaster. So it’s worth it to me to get up 30-60 minutes earlier than normal. But for you teachers and the rest of the folks that already get up at an ungodly early hour? Respect.

  12. But… I WANT to sit in a cabin by a lake!!

    Just kiddin’. Well, not about wanting to do it, kidding about whining about it and missing your point.

    Thanks for the encouragement, the suggestions, and giving us permission to find time to write, Christine. It’s so true that we have — and can miss — golden opportunities to get started.

    1. Christine

      I know, Dave. I do too.

  13. I struggle with finding extra time to write. I work two jobs, have a wife & three daughters. However, you’ve given me some ideas.

    1. Christine

      Yeah, David. I have NO idea how you do it. You are a monster! (the best kind. like cookie monster.)

  14. Love this article! Thanks for the proverbial Bitch Slap!

    1. Christine

      I love it when a good bitch slap is fully appreciated! 😉

  15. This is post is like a kick in the pants that I needed. This is what summed it up for me, “Then quit bitching and write.” I don’t think there’s anything more to say, I just need to let go of the excuses and write!

    1. Christine

      That goes for me, too! Excuses are so much more fun to create. :)

  16. For me it’s not the time to write, its the discipline. And the fear of failing/not being good enough. I’m spoiled. I have lots of time and a private place to write. And 10 million excuses for why I don’t. Sigh.

    1. Christine

      I think that’s true for a lot of us, Nicole. I too have good seasons and…not-so-good ones.

  17. Another incredible post! Thank you Christine for reminding us writers that nothing truly stands in our way – except ourselves! There’s so much freedom that comes when we give ourselves room to fail and also room to move forward. The journey hurts, but there’s nothing worthwhile if we never have to struggle for anything!

    1. Christine

      Thanks, Brad. It’s so easy to see the obstacles rather than finding creative ways over or around them, right?

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